Featured Osteopathic Family Physician:

Anne Hutchinson, DO
Chief Resident: Riverside Family Medicine: VCOM, VCU Affiliate
Resident Governor, ACOFP Board of Governors

Anne L. Hutchinson, DO, is a resident at Riverside Family Medicine, VCU Affiliate, in Newport News, Virginia. She graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2015.

She has been actively involved with the ACOFP and currently serves on the ACOFP Resident Council and the Convention & Site Committee. She was the Student Academic Member on the ACOFP Board of Governors in 2013, the President of the Student Association of the ACOFP in 2014, and Co-Chair of the 2016 ACOFP Resident Engagement Committee. Dr. Hutchinson has also served on several ACOFP committees, including the Public Health and Wellness Committee, the Resident Engagement Committee, the Future Leaders Committee, and the New Physicians & Residents Committee.

While at PCOM, she was the PCOM OMSI Liaison in 2011 and the SAACOFP Student Chapter President in 2012. She was also involved in the Primary Care Scholars Program in 2011 and 2015. She received the PCOM Medicine Foundation Scholarship in 2011 and 2012.

For the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Family Physicians Society, she was the PCOM Student Representative to the Board of Trustee in 2012 and 2013.

What kind of person makes the best osteopathic family physician?
Energetic, warm and knowledgeable: From a patient’s perspective, this is what I would look for when trying to identify a great family medicine physician. The osteopathic component provides the finishing touch with the education and physical skills to provide comprehensive care and the understanding that overall health depends on the wellness of all body systems, not just one isolated issue at a time. A physician who can grasp and practice this is an outstanding candidate for osteopathic family medicine.

What is your best advice for students who are undecided?
Many students are undecided until they get to their clinical rotations, understanding and being patient with the process is the first piece of advice I would share. It is important not to rush your decision making process when picking a specialty! For those who can see themselves “doing a little of everything” in their careers should strongly consider family medicine and gear their elective time in a curriculum that will support a well rounded education.

What is your favorite aspect of osteopathic family medicine?
My favorite part of osteopathic family medicine is the education of patients (and medical students!) regarding the relationships between the various systems within the human body and how they relate to the psychosocial component to wellness. Being able to improve overall health through manipulation is a powerful, unique tool.

Why did you go into osteopathic family medicine?
I always knew I wanted to be a primary care doctor: I have an aunt and uncle who are allopathic family medicine physicians and have served as role models for the importance of preventative health care within my community. I was lucky enough to have one of my own physicians who was osteopathically trained and demonstrated the importance of the biopsychosocial model in preventative health care and I knew that was the type of practice I wanted to learn and continue in my own career.

What do you know now in regard to selecting a specialty that you wish you knew when you were an osteopathic medical student?
It is hard to understand the depth of any specialty within medicine from one 4 week rotation or from one single physician within a field: as a medical student I found it helpful to ask questions with regards to lifestyle, practice management, patient interaction to multiple physicians practicing within the same field and across different geographic regions. Doing so will give you a better picture as to what the specialty has to offer. Limiting your perspective to one person’s experience will not give you accurate depiction of the career.

What qualities should students look for in a mentor and what are some red flags for them to avoid?

Qualities to look for in a mentor: Someone who has a good work-life balance, someone who has a varied background in their practice (may provide more experience and perspective), someone who genuinely invests in the education of students and residents as well as their patients will take a genuine interest in counseling and mentoring you.

Qualities to avoid: Someone who does not seem to make time for their personal interests and hobbies (they may be overcommitted), someone whose leadership style comes across as aggressive or narrow minded may not provide the best counseling as a mentor.

What have your mentors taught you?
My mentors have taught through both demonstration as well as discussion. They embody what they preach and that goes further than mere words. Things I have learned:

  • Have conviction for your beliefs regarding public health policy: form well thought out arguments to support those beliefs and trust yourself and education.

  • In the face of adversity, do not concede if you are outnumbered. Personal conviction and the knowledge to back it up will take you far

  • Osteopathic family medicine is a community and will provide support whenever you need it

  • Keep an open mind when faced with a leadership problem: narrow minded perspectives will only close doors while being open minded will open doors to solutions to those problems

What specific questions should students ask their mentors?

  • What is the single most pivotal moment of your professional career?
  • Did you ever consider anything other than osteopathic family medicine? If so, what led you to that as a career choice?

Published September, 2017